In my many years of clinical practice as a nutritionist and certainly in my role at Atkins, I’ve found that most people naturally fall into one of two categories food-wise: those who’ve discovered which foods they prefer and eat them regularly and those who thrive on variety and are always looking for ways to shake things up. Identifying which of the two groups you fall into can go a long way to making your experience on Atkins a positive experience—complete with lasting results. So let’s see which you are.
Are You a Menu Maven?
Are you perfectly happy having scrambled eggs or a smoothie—or whatever—for breakfast day after day? Do you regularly rotate through a few lunchtime favorites? Do you have several tried-and-true dishes you make for dinner every week? Do you wind up with pretty much the same items in your grocery cart each week? Are you cautious about trying new foods or unsure about trying new recipes? Are you the chief cook and bottle-washer with a partner and/or kids with picky appetites? Do you often make more than one meal at a time and see leftovers as a way to stretch your food budget and save precious time?
If your answer to many or most of these queries is “yes,” you’re probably comfortable getting your Atkins menus nailed down and then following them faithfully, modifying them a bit as you move from phase to phase. Containing your choices to a relatively small number of foods may work well for you. You know what you can eat, how much of it and how your body responds to it. This predictability encourages a sense of control, which is empowering.
Or an Epicurean Explorer?
On the other hand, do you get bored eating the same foods day in and day out? Are you always trying to come up with new ideas for lunch and dinner? Do you like to try new recipes and sample new ingredients? Is your family as open to new tastes and combinations as you are? Do you see cooking as a creative pursuit instead of a duty? Do you get as much pleasure from a new kitchen gadget as a new pair of shoes? Is a trip to a farm stand a fun opportunity to tease your taste buds with a veggie or fruit you’ve never tried before?
If variety is the spice of your life, rest assured that you can experience a wide range of foods and still stay on plan while you slim down. In the vegetable world alone, they’re close to a hundred foundation vegetables you can choose from on Atkins. And when it comes to cooking methods, braising, baking, grilling, roasting, sautéing, steaming, stewing, stir-frying are all on the table. How many diets can say that?
Start with Who You Are and How You Live
Of course, there are many of you who fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. At breakfast time, convenience and habit may trump variety, but you demand more variety in your other meals. Or you may have narrowed down to a simple routine of standard favorites for hectic weekdays, but enjoy some culinary creativity on the weekends. Or you may be a “menu maven” who has decided to be more open to other options. Likewise, you may find Atkins products are an integral part of your routine or you may use them only when you’re in a pinch or on the road. The point is that whatever your approach to meals and snacks, you can make it work with your Atkins lifestyle. Personal choice is a major component of the New Atkins.
How About Me?
I’ll confess that I fall into the former category. I could have the same food every day and be perfectly happy. Typically, I have an Atkins shake not long after getting up and a second mini-breakfast, usually yogurt and berries after I get to the office. Once I’m at work, I find I am so busy I just don’t want to have to deal with making a daily decision about what to have for lunch. My go-to choices are a big green salad with tofu, tuna, chicken or another protein source. For dinner, my husband and I usually grill chicken, burgers, salmon or sometimes a steak. On the weekend, we might have a leg of lamb. We always have at least one vegetable with the meal and a side salad. We usually make enough for more than one meal so we often have the same meal twice in a week. For me, variety is nice but not essential. I’m more likely to try something new when we’re eating out on the weekend. After more than a decade following the Atkins lifestyle, it’s become as natural as breathing. I barely have to think about it—other than to get myself to the supermarket!
Share and Share Alike
So are you a “menu maven” or an “epicurean explorer?” Or do you come down right in the middle? Please share your thoughts with the Atkins Community and also let me know what you’d like to hear about in the future.